A new report says we will be using 40% more smart things next year. What do you need to know?


On the treadmill? Use your phone to set your smart griddle and have your bacon ready when you come back from the gym.

Your clever kitchen appliance will be one of 1.6 billion new connected things next year, according to a report by the information technology research and advisory company Gartner.

That’s an increase of about 40% from 2015 to 2016. The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is getting bigger by the second.

“It becomes more clear with each passing month that there is no longer the Internet of People and an Internet of Things. There is just the Internet,” said Bob Beachy with Archer Security Group.

“As Internet traffic shifts from the traditional PC to mobile devices and tablets, and now to smart popcorn machines and pacemakers, we can no longer think of one segment of the Internet without also considering all segments of the Internet,” said Beachy.

In other words, it’s not just a griddle any more. It’s a connected computer sitting on your kitchen counter.

Smart businesses

Gartner said the biggest increase in 2016 will be smart devices for businesses, like commercial real estate.

That includes security cameras, webcams, LED lighting and systems to manage energy efficiency, Gartner said.

“Especially in large sites, such as industrial zones, office parks, shopping malls, airports or seaports, IoT can help reduce the cost of energy, spatial management and building maintenance by up to 30 percent,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan in a Gartner press release.

Your house

Homes will catch up with businesses by 2018, said Gartner, with TV sets, set-top boxes, smart bulbs, smart thermostats, home security systems, kitchen appliances and more.

“The increasing use of connected smart devices promises all sorts of new efficiencies in managing electrical energy usage, local security and personal convenience,” said Patrick Coyle of Chemical Facility Security News.

“It does, however, come at a cost,” he added.

Coyle said there at least two major problems coming with the dramatic increase in Internet of Things devices: cybersecurity problems and WiFi gridlock.

Cybersecurity in your smart home or business

Most of these new smart devices come with minimal or non-existent security controls installed, said Coyle.

Do you need cybersecurity for your smart griddle?

“While many of these devices do not seem to be much of a security target (for example, refrigerators, coffee makers or light switches), the fact that they are connected to local networks provides the enterprising hacker with another way to get around the defenses that have been put in place to protect the more sensitive information in those networks,” explained Coyle.

“It is like putting steel doors and bars on windows to your house, while leaving the door open on the connected garage; the crooks will just enter the house through the garage,” he said.

WiFi griddle-lock

The jump in WiFi traffic needs to be addressed, Coyle said.

“All of these IOT devices come with WiFi connections to the networks,” he said. “As more and more of these devices get connected, they are going to start taking up significant portions of the available bandwidth used by our main routes of access to the internet.”

That means your phones, tablets and computers could be affected.

Eventually, you may need to choose between smart bacon and your smart phone.

“At some point, they are going to start interfering with the speed of the connections of the devices that we have come to rely on for our entertainment, information and communications,” Coyle said.

More smartness

Gartner’s report indicates that connected devices will continue to be added, some in new and potentially helpful ways.

“Thanks to data collected from sensors, smart cities can interact and engage with residents and businesses, creating a collaborative environment,” said Tratz-Ryan.

Gartner gave examples of bus stops in Singapore that can identify people with different needs, announcing bus arrivals ahead of time for elderly people who need extra time to board.

The company said environmental sensor-mounted bikes and mail carts can register air pollution, and upload the data to websites the public can access in cities like Madrid and Malaga.

“The increases in efficiency and new sources of information provided by the dramatic increase in smart devices comes with a cost that has not yet been fully looked at,” said Coyle. “Society, governments and individuals need to start looking at the cybersecurity and WiFi gridlock costs to see if the new smart devices are really worth it.”